My mother has very limited mobility (extreme obesity) and my father is her caretaker. His health is failing, what are their living options?

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My parents are in their early 70s. They own a home but are in danger of losing it bc they haven't paid property taxes in a couple of years. They also have 18k debt. My mother nearly died this January and spent 2 months in the hospital and assisted living. She can barely walk and can't fully clean herself (for the past 5 years due to obesity). My dad has been able to care for her (somewhat) but he just had a mild stroke in August and still has quite a bit of weakness in his right arm. He loves the idea of buying a more affordable home. But the location he likes is an hour further from major hospitals and the airport. He wants a place in the country so he doesn't have an HOA or close neighbors (as he can't get along with them). Currently he can barely maintain the home they have and its falling apart and is not handicap safe.


Is it worth trying to help them buy a new home or even purchasing a home to rent to them? Who will care for the property? My husband is in the Army for at least another 10 years and we have 3 small kids (6 and under). So we can't move my parents near us as we are always moving also it is very difficult traveling to help them.
I feel like my mom has needed full assisted living for years (she only reads or watches tv all day) but my dad still has some abilities and dreams, he fishes on his small boat and does light gardening.
What are your thoughts???

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
Yikes, what a very sad situation. My first thought is, don't let your parents take down your family/finances/future.
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What's with all these elders who won't admit to themselves that they can't care for a house and yard anymore? Early 70's may not be considered old by today's standards, but given their health concerns they are "older' than many of their peers and are not in a position to buy a house and live independently, it is a (dangerous) fantasy. Time for them to get real and consider a move to a more supportive environment where their present and future needs can be met.
Perhaps you could ask the Area on Aging to visit them and do a needs assessment? This would help them find out about alternate housing in their area. I'm sure you are very worried. I can't see how moving into the same level of care that they have now would help them regardless of where it is located. I think your dad's best opportunity for fishing would be if he got more care for your mom. Home health might be an option through medicare. It sounds like mom (and possibly dad) could benefit from therapy. You certainly have you hands full. Call the area on aging in their county and see where it leads you. Remember as much as you would like to do hands on care, you already have a full time job with your own family.
No, I don't think it's worth helping them purchase a new home. It's illogical as they're barely getting by in the home they have. Your mom's immobile and your dad's recovering from a stroke. They might want to consider assisted living. Your mom's only going to deteriorate and your dad isn't in a good position to be responsible for her care anymore. It sounds like they might be in denial about their circumstances. 
You shouldn't involve yourself financially in this AT ALL. Your parents are not that old, and it is sad that your mother has made herself old beyond her years, and that your dad doesn't seem to like people.

They aren't going to suddenly "improve" with moving to the country so dad can putter...sounds like he can barely care for himself, much less your mom.

Your parents could move to an ALF that has separate apartments but onsite care if needed. Dad still drives? He can still get away to do the things he wants, then. It's not going to be ideal in dad's mind, but that's something he has to work out.

Do you need to help them with this next step? Can they make the decisions about moving and handle all that needs handling or do they need an advocate? It sounds like they aren't making good financial decisions at all.

Can you facilitate an assessment on them, from where you are? Give you a baseline to work with.

Good luck---and come back if you need more help. Depending on where they live, there might be people here who would know exactly whom to call upon.

All of the above. And forget selling the house to get them into another home (that they can’t afford and can’t take care of). That $18K tax lien is the first problem. But not the only problem. Have you investigated how to deplete your parents’ assets in a manner that’s Medicaid compliant? You are looking down the barrel at advanced and increasing care for both of them. And if they can’t pay their taxes, they aren’t great candidates for self-paid continuing care. 
The reality is that as a forces' family you just can't be on hand to support your parents as you would like to, and for the same reason getting too closely involved in their finances would also be a bad idea. You can't possibly support them financially and buying a house to rent to them or contributing to their house purchase would only complicate their situation.

But you're right to be concerned. Is there anything you can do in terms of finding advice and advocacy for them so that they can get their tax and debt situation under control? I'd start with whichever authority deals with their property taxes, call them to explain the situation and ask for help.

As for location... your poor dad wants to run away, do you think? Escape to the countryside, a rural idyll where all is peace and growth and birdsong. One can understand his longing. But with his stroke and your mother's care needs, moving further away from services and health care facilities is a bit of a non-starter, alas.

Is your father getting any help with your mother's care at all?

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